Launched in 2009 as an experiment, the CDP offers six months of self-led training for prospective financial professionals. Applicants can stay at their current jobs during this training, which culminates with the professional designations needed to become a certified life insurance agent and financial advisor, according to Fortune.
At Prudential, the small-scale experiment has grown into the company's sole hiring method. "The way we used to hire people was much more the traditional method of interviewing them, hiring them, and then training them," explained Caroline Feeney, the president of agency distribution at Prudential. "Our managers like this approach a lot better, because it shows them clearly how committed and conscientious each candidate is before that person is hired. As candidates go through the training, you can see very clearly who's committed and motivated, who really 'gets' the sales aspect of the business, who's enthusiastic and who isn't. It tells you volumes more than any job interview can."
The CDP also helps weed out uninterested or uncommitted applicants. About 60 percent don't complete the training; interestingly, turnover at Prudential has dropped by 40 percent.
Feeney does offer one piece of advice for other business owners who might want to try their own version of the CDP: Don't skip steps. "We've put together a detailed checklist of things candidates have to do, and we urge the managers who run the program in our branch offices not to compromise on any of them, because each step matters," she added.
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